We live in an age where every day brings newer and better ways to work, communicate and make rudimentary tasks easier. This ever-increasing march forward has also brought a host of new technology to the automotive world.
All over the globe, small automotive businesses are flourishing in the restomod space, and Red Hill Motorsport (RHM) in Ireland is determined to join the party by creating the greatest rally-bred Peugeot 106 Maxi possible, and making it available to buy right now.
Since I visited Red Hill Motorsport in 2020, a lot has changed for Dave Hunt and his Sligo-based workshop, especially in regard to this particular 106 Maxi which at the time was nothing more than a shell. While it started out as a passion project, Red Hill Motorsport has become a full-time operation, and their 106 Maxi is sure to put the company on the map.
Upon arrival, the sight of this pumped-up French hatchback, complete with massive lamp pod and Kevlar bonnet, drew an instant smile. For a tiny car – in modern terms – it exudes a presence unlike anything you could likely expect to see on the road.
The imposing arches, along with the bumpers and bonnet were all hand-made at RHM in carbon-Kevlar, and the whole kit tips the scales at an incredibly impressive 7kg (15lb). While the exterior is painted, the familiar yellow Kevlar weave is left visible on trailing edges and the rear of panels, while the exposed hood is a clue of the lengths taken to push the boundaries of Peugeot 106 builds.
The purpose-built nature of the build extends to small details like the wing mirrors (moulded off a 306 Maxi item), which are finished in Kevlar and affixed to standard 106 base plates for a perfect fit. Under the arches sit a set of 17-inch Evo Course Ragno SB9 wheels.
Wrapped in sticky Kumho rubber, the SB9s are a modern interpretation of the classic wheels used on 106 Maxis in competition during the late 1990s, and they perfectly accommodate a sizeable brake package.
The front axle uses custom 335mm floating discs mated to Alcon 4-pot callipers, while the rear beam, taken from a Citroen Saxo S1600, houses 280mm discs, again floating items, and 2-pot Alcons. Ferodo D3000 pads and braided stainless steel brake lines ensure a strong pedal and plenty of stopping power.
The rear beam is fitted with 3-way Proflex adjustable shocks, aiding in controlling what was at times in period considered a lively rear end. It’s an example of how this build takes full advantage of over 25 years of Peugeot 106 development.
Underneath, the attention to detail shines just as brightly as the outside, with brackets built to match the spec of works rally cars. Both the underbody and sill protection plates are RHM items.
While the rear suspension is impressive, the attention to detail on the front end is staggering. Dave happily agrees that his original plan for the car – something of a more simple spec than we see now – quickly went out the window once he got stuck into the build. Take the uprights for example, which are not only made from billet alloy, but are specifically designed and machined for this project.
Bos 3-way adjustable front coilovers, originally designed for a Citroën C2 R2, were adapted to fit the Peugeot 106 chassis, while the steering arm was relocated to allow the use of 12-inch-long front springs for longer shock travel. Genuine 106 Maxi alloy top mounts add a touch of anodised colour to the engine bay, while RHM rose-jointed tubular lower arms finish off the incredible suspension spec.
The amount of specially-adapted factory rally car parts in use is a sign of the lengths taken to build this RHM 106 Maxi, but peering beneath the surface for a moment, Dave’s skills, coupled with his knowledge of the chassis, are fully apparent.
Everything that could be lightened or reinforced has been, and the entire car was seam-welded from the get-go. A modern interpretation of the factory roll cage used in these cars was fabricated in house, complete with added gusseting where required. The arches front and rear have been tubbed to accomodate the 17-inch wheel and tyre package, while an RHM-designed strengthening kit has been used to reinforce all of the suspension pick-up points.
Opening the lightened doors, the first thing that grabs you is the incredible amount of space available within what was never a large cabin to begin with. Taking inspiration from the Škoda Fabia S2000 interior, the majority of the controls have been moved back 120mm to bring the driver closer to the centreline. Such is RHM’s attention to detail, the original Peugeot 106 door handles have been moved back the same distance as well.
With the seats, steering column and Tilton pedal box all too shifted rearward, the weight distribution split has been massively improved. The LHD conversion further aids that, allowing a heavier driver to act as a balance against the engine on the opposing side, while a smaller navigator offsets the weight of the gearbox – a rather special 3MO 6-speed sequential with a Citroën C2 R2 Max lightweight clutch and flywheel assembly.
Looking around the interior, it’s the small details that again standout. The footplates are custom-machined with RHM logos, and subtle Peugeot badges can be found in a number of places.
While most sequential boxes make do with a basic upright handle, Dave has taken things to another level with this in-house shifter. Sitting atop is a machined gear knob by Denis Lecouffe Machining in Canada, the iconic golf ball design a nod to Dave’s VW scene heritage.
Between the seats, a MoTeC 15-button keypad manages the core functions, while additional wireless steering wheel controls give the driver full and easy access to things like the lights and wipers. Expertly wired by Paul Twomey at PT Motorsport, the latest CAN bus tech mated to an Ecumaster Black ECU shows the advancement available to a modern car like the RHM 106 Maxi that was unheard of in 1998.
Beneath the lightweight smooth and flocked original dash sits the ECU as well as an Ecumaster PMU controller. The car’s vital stats are fed directly to the driver through an Ecumaster ADU5 digital dash mounted out on the extended steering column.
Those stats are important, as what sits beneath the featherweight Kevlar bonnet and massive lamp pod is as expected – exceptional. If you like screaming NA weapons, you’re going to like what’s sitting in the engine bay.
Built by Dobrowolski Motorsport in Poland to the very latest evolution of the Citroën C2 S1600 spec, and using a whole host of genuine Citroën Sport parts throughout, this 1.6L engine sends 230bhp to the front wheels as it revs to 9,400rpm.
A set of Jenvey throttle bodies and Audi R8 coil packs catch the eye as you nose around the bay, but in every small nook and cranny there is attention to detail. From nicely hidden single-point loom connectors through to custom plug brackets, everything is well considered.
A custom-made alloy radiator cools the engine, while the manifold, exhaust and intake are all genuine 106 Maxi race parts.
Sat beside another RHM creation, this time a Citroën Saxo S1600 recreation due to be delivered as a rolling shell to the customer – it’s clear just how much this quiet little shed on the Irish west coast is capable of offering.
While this first 106 Maxi has been built for tarmac rallying, Red Hill Motorsport have the expertise and knowledge to build these cars to a customer’s desired spec, including the option to go for a more road-orientated theme.
When we think of restomodding, we often only think of creations built for the road, but Red Hill Motorsport are doing it different with their ‘ultimate’ 106 Maxi and Saxo S1600 recreations, and they’re something I can definitely get behind.Gallery